Vrai = real / true (adjectives that change meaning according to position)

Note that certain adjectives change their meanings depending if they appear before or after the noun.

Look at these uses of vrai:

Une histoire vraie.
A true story.

Une vraie histoire.
Quite a story.

Before the noun, vrai means quite a / elaborate / interesting.

After the noun, vrai means true/real.

Note that generally adjectives appear after the noun, but some very common adjectives go before.

 

See also: 

Ancien = former / old (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Cher= dear / expensive (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Certain = specific / sure (adjectives that change meaning according to position) 

Dernier = final / previous (adjectives that change meaning according to position)

Propre = own / clean (adjectives that change meaning according to position)

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Une vraie histoire.
Quite a story.


Une histoire vraie.
A true story.



Q&A Forum 5 questions, 8 answers

I thought the plural of "un" and "une" was " des", but the video link example says it is "de". Is that correct?

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Friend, 

If you mean in 'de beaux arbres'  -

Take a look at the following Kwiziq lesson which will illustrate this little rule -

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/use-de-d-instead-of-des-in-front-of-adjectives-preceding-nouns-partitive-article

Hope this helps!

Merci! Wow, I've been using "des" in front of adjectives for years. Very embarrassing.

I thought the plural of "un" and "une" was " des", but the video link example says it is "de". Is that correct?

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Un vrai plaisir

Asked 1 year ago
I retract my question.

Un vrai plaisir

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Vrai vs. faux

I think it would be helpful to point out in this lesson that vrai vs. faux do not behave (placement) in the same was as other opposites such as grand/petit, bon/mauvais etc.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Melody ! Could you please clarify what you mean here ? Merci :)
I was also referencing the lesson Short and common adjectives that go BEFORE nouns (adjective position) It's easy to miss the fact while faux obeys the usual rules, vrai does not. Other opposites do. I made the wrong assumption about vrai/ faux. All I was suggesting was adding this as a link to the current lesson, or noting in the lesson linked above, that vrai and faux to not behave in the same way as other opposites.

Vrai vs. faux

I think it would be helpful to point out in this lesson that vrai vs. faux do not behave (placement) in the same was as other opposites such as grand/petit, bon/mauvais etc.

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Translation

I'm reading "seul sur Mars" (originally in English). The protagonist is testing that his equipment can clean air properly: "D’accord, ce n’est pas un vrai test, car je ne suis pas à l’intérieur à consommer de l’oxygène et produire du CO2". If understand this lesson properly, a better translation would be "ce n'est pas un test vrai" ?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Joakim ! First of all, well done! That's quite a challenge! As for "vrai", the nuance of position is more complicated than this. As I told you before, generally speaking, a lot of adjectives can be used either before or after the noun. Used "after", adjectives' meaning is more literal, objective or based on neutral observation (thus "vrai" meaning "true/real" in an objective manner there), whereas used "before", adjectives take on more of a subjective, figurative or based on opinion meaning ("vrai" expressing more of an opinion of something = "a real man"). So while "un test vrai" would sound very neutral, using "un vrai test" here is also perfectly acceptable, and brings a extra "value" layer to the expression: "a test worthy of that name".

Translation

I'm reading "seul sur Mars" (originally in English). The protagonist is testing that his equipment can clean air properly: "D’accord, ce n’est pas un vrai test, car je ne suis pas à l’intérieur à consommer de l’oxygène et produire du CO2". If understand this lesson properly, a better translation would be "ce n'est pas un test vrai" ?

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true story = real story?

This one is a bit hard to distinguish since isn't a real story a true story? When we say it's quite a story, it means it's an elaborate, interesting story, right?
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour John ! We completely agreed with$your suggestions, and edited the lesson accordingly! Merci et à bientôt !
Following your comments here, shouldn't the title of the lesson also be changed to reflect your edits? As such: Adjectives That Change Meaning According to Position - vrai (quite, elaborate, interesting / real, true)

true story = real story?

This one is a bit hard to distinguish since isn't a real story a true story? When we say it's quite a story, it means it's an elaborate, interesting story, right?

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Thinking...